How good an actress is Susan Flannery? This past week she gave the kind of performance that's likely to win her another Emmy nomination, and perhaps her fifth Daytime Emmy this year. She somehow made Stephanie Forrester, this titanic, maddening and obnoxious woman, sympathetic. She gave us the humanity and vulnerability behind that hellcat and, damn it, she was amazing.
It was a week of blazing emotions, like watching a teakettle reach the boil and start whistling madly. Eric heard the whistling coming from his ex-wife, the mother of three of his children (four if you consider Ridge more Eric's son than Marone's), and he had had enough. He blasted Stephanie for being divisive and uncompromising and told her that she was fired. He terminated her reign at Forrester. Of course, I don't remember when she was ever re-hired. I seem to remember that when Nick sold Forrester back to Eric, it was on the condition that Stephanie would stay out of the business. Then, suddenly, Stephanie was back there every day and Nick never enforced the deal.
So that was why Eric was in a position to drop the ax on Stephanie and tell her to pack her things and leave. It was abrupt and dramatic, but not such a surprise. Eric has good reasons for wanting Stephanie out of the business. He wants her out of his life. He's onto young wife number two - Brooke was one - and Stephanie's looming shadow has been cramping his style. The silver fox has a hot, new and sexy vixen that wants to play with him and soak up all the joy of life. Donna is his girl toy and after nearly dying of a heart attack, Eric thinks he's earned the right to be a man-child again. He wants to take a break in the middle of the workday for some honey-coated sexcapades, and he doesn't think he has to apologize to his children or Stephanie for his actions. Eric Forrester is a good man, but he's selfish and spoiled. If Ridge can frolic with Brooke during 9-to-5 - and they were in the steam room again this week! -- why can't he?
Eric's not evil. He just wants Stephanie to move on. His scene with Taylor was proof that he feels loyalty to Stephanie and doesn't want her to sink into a depression. He realizes that her identity is wrapped up in the company, but with the ego of a creative artist, Eric thinks that he's the company and Stephanie is an appendage. He thinks that amputating her from Forrester is the answer and they'll get on just fine without her. He's going to find that, as Stephanie said, all those Logans walking the halls of Forrester are not going to equal the flair of a real Forrester. Say what you will about Stephanie, she is/was the beating heart of that company.
Like I said, I understand Eric's point of view, but when Stephanie went to the marina and reflected on her past with Eric, it was heartbreaking. I didn't care for the actors chosen for young Eric and young Stephanie - they didn't even show them from the front - but the point was made. The scenes that followed, with Stephanie and Nick, were illuminating. What a joy to hear such adult conversation! Nobody was yapping about Steffy and Rick for a change - hallelujah! Seriously, didn't you love it when Stephanie contemplated her situation? Is it fair that Stephanie should have invested her life and love in Eric's dream, a dream they shared, only to reach this age to find that her partner doesn't want her anymore? Well, whoever said love is fair? Eric's character is like many men we've seen in film and TV; he has a trophy wife now and the old gray mama doesn't suit him anymore. What's a woman of distinction like Stephanie supposed to do now?
After listening to Stephanie and reading about the history of Forrester, I'm betting that Nick Marone is going to use his head - which is now nicely coiffed since he got a haircut! - to make Stephanie an offer she'll find hard to refuse. Revenge is the best medicine, and while it might be anathema to her at first, Stephanie will see that joining forces with Jackie M. could give her something that Forrester never could - a new beginning.
Meanwhile, I'm in sugar shock from the gooey love scenes between Steffy and Rick. Can't they ease up on the happy pills and act like sex isn't all they do? What about talking, and I don't mean about how much they love each other. How about a conversation about Steffy's future; does she plan on staying in the mailroom? Is she going to be a Real Housewife of Beverly Hills and stay at home? Speaking of which, the rush to get married is really more about the poker game between Ridge and Rick than anything else. Ridge gave Steffy the wedding gown, forcing Rick to prove he was serious about marriage. Rick gets Steffy a giant diamond ring to stick in Ridge's face. The two men keep raising the stakes, waiting to see whose going to flip out first.
What's so funny is that Steffy is completely oblivious to the fact that she's being used by both of them. Oh, and Thomas? I think they shipped him permanently out of town. And speaking of MIA characters, has Pam been released from the lock up yet? They talked about her being let go in passing, but we haven't seen her. You'd think that Stephanie might have turned to her sister for a shoulder to cry on after the scene with Eric and then Nick. Instead, she gazed at the Pacific. I hope they weren't suggesting that Stephanie was suicidal, because that's just not SF.
Hmm...should be an interesting week ahead. I'll be watching and writing. Tell me what you all think. Also, check out SoapCentral.com's daily blog by your's truly - Lathered Up. I vent daily on everything going on in soaps, the good, the bad and sometimes the bold and the beautiful, too!